SHAC’d up to help each other

Emerging artist Micaela Miller.

LOSED galleries and cancelled events have had a particularly harsh impact on WA’s emerging artists, who often lack the ‘name’ to get exposure in what’s been a big rush online.

To try and combat the problem, Fremantle’s Sustainable Housing for Artists and Creatives has taken its Incubate mentoring program for female artists online.

Live streaming

Using online workshops, live streaming and virtual galleries, the program teams SHAC’s established artists with up-and-comers to give them tips on how to get their work noticed.

SHAC Incubate coordinator Rachel Riggs said they used a grant from Fremantle council to take the program online as the doors of studios and galleries closed around Fremantle. 

“I wanted to use that funding to give some artists some kind of small income in these times as many artists have lost all their income,” Ms Riggs said.

She said SHAC focussed on encouraging emerging artists who worked across different art forms, saying it was important to help the next generation along.

Ms Riggs said once the Covid-19 crisis had eased, SHAC wanted to hire out low-cost spaces for artists and creatives within the gallery and workshop at its White Gum Valley base.

“SHAC is about to launch a new membership program, once we get through this, we are actively seeking new members, of artists of all ages,” she said.

Emerging visual artist Micaela Miller has been mentored by 50-year veteran Lynne Tinley through the program, the pair bonding over a shared love of the environment.

Ms Miller said governments and society should be more open to recognising creative work as a ‘real job’ and to translate it into the economy.

“We definitely need more funding; we definitely need it to be a priority not just a novelty,” Ms Miller said.

Ms Riggs’ daughter Rebecca is an emerging sound artist taking part in the program, and she reiterated the call for more government support for arts industries.

“All my work as a freelance emerging artist got cut, apart from this one – which is fantastic,” she said.

With social distancing rules still limiting gatherings to 20 people from May 18, and most venues limited in their ability to host larger groups anyway, Ms Riggs said she and her cohort are still uncertain when they’ll be able to perform or engage in collaborative projects again.

“We as artists still want to contribute to the community and in these difficult times the arts and creativity are really important for people’s wellbeing and the community.”

by PHOEBE WYLES

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